It was a tremendously full day, starting from early on. Before breakfast, there were already three groups ashore in Espumilla. A wide brown beach, with turtle tracks from the night before, diving blue-footed boobies and a rising sun over the island. Offshore kayakers paddled along rocky shores, hearing, then seeing the Galapagos fur seals as they moved down towards the water after their night of rest. Between breakfast and lunch, all was to do with the ocean – either a Zodiac ride along the shores of Buccaneer Bay, or in the water for an excellent deep-water snorkel. Afternoon was the entrancing Punto Egas trail; the coastal portion with plenty to see: fur seals, night herons, turtles, marine iguanas and oystercatchers.
National Geographic Islander
Our visit to Bartholomew Island started early in the morning. The tiny island showed incredible volcanic formations, and guests aboard National Geographic Islander enjoyed the landscape photo opportunities. Starting on the dry landing and all the way to the top (374 feet), we discovered spatter cones and lava bombs. After hiking up 365 stairs, we reached the summit of the volcano. The view of Santiago Island, situated in front of Bartholomew, was breathtaking and perfect for pictures. In the afternoon, we had the opportunity to snorkel near Guy Fawkes Islets. An eroded volcano offered the perfect habitat for different species of fish and marine invertebrates. Following the water activities, we got ready for a hike at Dragon Hill on Santa Cruz Island. A dry landing on a rocky pier led us to a dry vegetation forest. Plenty of palo santo trees and prickly pear cacti made an ideal trail for land iguanas. Land iguanas, vegetarian reptiles of pale-yellow and brown coloration, are one of three species endemic to the islands. The iguanas are found under bushes or even in the middle of trails.